Caribbean and Diaspora News Round-up

Caribbean High Commissioners
  • Working with the Caribbean Diaspora
  • Caribbean Americans for Obama
  • Cuban - have passport, will travel
  • Machel - free to fete 
CI logo Doing Diaspora business
In a fresh attempt to do more business with the Caribbean diaspora in the UK, a new high-level team started meetings in January to work out some fresh policies.
Ideas being looked into include Diaspora Bonds and specialised customised Trading and Investment Platforms.
Caricom governments have increasingly identified their nationals abroad as a potential source of investment, trading and skills which can be used back home.
Some of the Caribbean High Commissions in London had pressed home the message with their diaspora during the Olympic Games in 2012.
The London-based committee, chaired by Trinidad and Tobago’s High Commissioner to London, Garvin Nicholas, will look at ways to engage the UK Caribbean Diaspora.
The Joint Committee UK-Caricom Committee on Trade and Investment was launched in November last year and includes the High Commissioners from Antigua/Barbuda (Carl Roberts), Barbados (Hugh Anthony Arthur), Grenada(Ruth Elizabeth Rouse) and Dominica (Francine Baron).
Their brief is to agree on ways to “further develop trade and investment between Caricom and the UK/Europe, with emphasis on the Diaspora”.
CI logo Inauguration day
As Americans prepared for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration ceremony, many saw the need to heal wounds following a divisive US presidential campaign.
One group which had campaigned for Mr Obama had been Caribbean Americans for Obama.
Posts on their website pointed to the theme of “Faith in America’s Future” for the inauguration ceremony.
As one team member wrote on the site, this is also the 150th anniversary of the placing of the Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol Dome.
“When the civil war threatened to bring construction of the Dome to a halt, workers pressed onward, even without pay, until Congress approved additional funding to complete the Dome to become a symbol of unity and democracy to the entire world,” the post said.
CI logo Cubans prepare to travel
Caribbean countries could be the first to feel the impact of the easing of Cuba’s travel restrictions.
That’s according to Dr Anthony Bryan, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
He told Caribbean Intelligence© that visas for the US remained at a limited 20,000 a year.
This means that Cubans now obtaining passports under this week’s easing of travel restrictions in Cuba will seek entry to the US through third countries.
“What are they going to do?” Dr Bryan told Caribbean Intelligence©.
“Go through Jamaica, into Mexico, into the Bahamas.”
Cubans used to pay up to the equivalent of $300 for the complicated paperwork needed to leave their country – estimated at three times the average salary.
Under the new rules, which came into place on 14 January, Cubans pay $50-$100 for a passport [prices go to $100 from 21 January]. With just a visa, they can now stay outside the country for as long as two years without facing any hurdles to return home.
Restrictions remain on professionals deemed to be “vital” for the Cuban economy and for senior communist party members.
CI logo Machel sentence postponed

Trinidad and Tobago Soca star, Machel Montano is clear to fete and perform for Carnival 2013 as his sentencing for five criminal charges, including assault, has been postponed to 25 February.


Montano, along with composer and musician Kernal Roberts, son of Calypso legend Lord Kitchener, along with other members of Montano's band were charged with a slate of criminal of fences stemming from a fracas outside a Port of Spain night club in 2007.


Montano and Roberts were found guilty on 10 December 2012.


The Port of Spain Magistrates Court was packed to capacity as fans and supporters of the Soca duo, which has won four T&T Carnival Road March titles, waited as their legal teams made submissions to Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor.


At various times throughout the day, police officers had to lock the courtroom to control the flow of people attempting to enter.


Tickets for  Montano's annual concert went on sale on the same day.


Machel is expected to attempt to defend one of his two Soca Monarch titles and his Road March crown this carnival with a song titled "Float", composed by Roberts.


Montano is guilty of four assault charges and one charge of obscene language, while Roberts is guilty of two assault charges.


The legal arguments made related to whether the two defendants could be sentenced to community service for the offences.

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